Monday, July 9, 2012

Donna Summer,Let it be on Jools Holland

Donna Summer,Winter Melody........

Donna Summer,Could it be Magic,Animation

Donna Summer Performing in Holland,I will go with you,12-10-99

Donna Summer Ads,Covers and More....

Donna Summer reviewed at The History of Rock - Disco Fever.

Burning up the dance floor with Donna Summer

 It was not until the late Seventies, when Donna Summer's work began to take on the aspect of adult-oriented rock, that she became a 'respectable' artist in the eyes of the rock establishment. Although this period of transition produced some of her finest moments, it also marked the end of her most influential pop-music tastes. It had been Donna Summer's earlier liaison with the Munich-based production and arrangement team of Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte that made her both a star and a crucial figure in the popularization of disco music.

 Summer love

One of a family of seven, Donna Summer was born in 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts, where, in the classic tradition of black American singers, she first sang publicly as a church-choir soloist at the age of 10. After moving to New York as a young adult, she optained her first worthwhile professional break when she was cast in the musical Hair, which entailed her moving to Munich, West Germany. From 1967 to 1974 she remained in Europe, working as a singer in a variety of shows including Godspell, Porgy And Bess and Show Boat; elements of this background in conventional showbiz were to be apparent in many of her later activities.
- In 1974, now with a young child to support, Summer answered an advertisement for a female backing singer. She got the job, thereby making contact with Moroder. They made an album together, a slight affair called Lady Of The Night, from which single, 'The Hostage', sold well in France and Holland, although not in the major US and UK markets.
- The following year, under the dual influence of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbour's soft-porn best-seller `Je T'Aimec Moi Non Plus' and the orchestral soul epics of Barry White, Norman Whitfield and Isaac Hayes, 'Love To Love You Baby' was released after an earlier single version had failed. Re-written as a 17-minute erotic epic, it took up a whole side of an LP of the same name. A single version reached Number 4 in the UK and Number 1 in the US, achieving similar acceptance all over Europe. The record's sumptuous catalogue of orgasmic groans and gasps set against a sultry backing captured a lucrative, adult market.
- The next album, 1976's A Love Trilogy, confirmed the Summer/Moroder/Bellotte musical identity in the public mind. The arrangers created a polished mesh of dense rhythmic pulses and spry string embellishments to accompany her breathy explorations of love and sex - before, during and after. Once more, a whole side was devoted to a single extended track - this time, 'Try Me'. This successful formula was repeated on the album Four Seasons Of Love, released in Britain the same year. Consisting of four lenghthy tracks, it yielded a minor Christmas hit with 'Winter Melody'. 

 - Moroder, Bellotte and their Oasis company had paved the way for a plethora of European disco imitators. Donna Summer was generally regarded by critics as little more than the shop-window for a shrewd commercial operation. An idealized Broadway vision of female glamour she certainly was; but she often captured the melancholia, confusions and transience of contemporary courtship, striking a sympathetic chord not only with female teenagers and disco dancers, but also with an increasingly visible generation of gay men. Donna's delight was being gradually eclipsed. She was, by now, the undisputed Disco Queen; glossy, 'girly', but sufficiently of the real world to be a genuine heroine.
Deep thrills
In 1977, as the disco market flooded with sterile, crass imitators, Summer decided on a change of approach. The I Remember Yesterday album was largely a collection of pastiches, and two of the hits it contained - the Forties-style title track and the Sixties-style 'Love`s Unkind' (a UK Number 3 in December) - offered nothing more than nostalgia. She also recorded the theme tune of the film The Deep (1977), a halfhearted attempt to cash in on Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975). All this suggested that she was becoming a new, bland family entertainer. However, I Remember Yesterday contained one real surprise in 'I Feel Love', a single that unleashed Moroder's 'Europercussion' sound - a backing track composed entirely of programmed synthesizers. The record made Number 1 in the UK in July 1977, marked Summer's final farewell to bedroom reveries and heralded the true arrival of the synthesizer in mainstream pop.
- The same year saw further Donna Summer product, a grand conceptual project in double-album form - Once Upon A Time - which narrated a modern-day, fairy-tale quest for true love. The album contained some of Moroder's finest arrangements, notably the synthesized 'Act II', and also revealed Summer's capacity to express a song's sentiments. If she lacked the power of a Diana Ross, she boasted a vocal ache that was all her own - showcased by the hit single 'I Love You'.

   With characteristic business acumen, Oasis catered to the affluent American public's by-then established taste for live double albums by releasing the shabby Live And More in 1978. It chart-topping status in the US proved conclusively that Donna Summer was now a consumer favourite for her albums as well as single releases.
- This state of affairs can be good news for an artist financially, but often signals an artist decline. Sadly, Donna Summer's subsequent output mostly served to confirm this rule. The great exception, however, was Bad Girls (1979), perhaps her finest recording. It was another thematic work, and another two-record set. Broadly based around the aspirations, experiences and (rather less plausibly) the appetites of street-corner hookers, two of its sides merged disco, rock and (for the first time in the traditional sense) soul to unstoppable effect. The assertive confidence of the opening 'Hot Stuff' track (an American chart-topping 45) was maintained throughout the LP, making Bad Girls undeniably her album.

 - The high standard of Bad Girls was not maintained, although single releases such as an overblown rendition of 'MacArthur Park' and 'No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)', a shrill duet with Barbra Streisand, were predictably popular. The Wanderer (1980), released on the Geffen label and her last with her initial collaborators, Donna Summer (1982), produced by Quincy Jones, and She Works Hard For The Money (1983) were all patchy efforts, with occasional gems swamped by much that was cliched and trite; all were blighted by routine MOR rock instrumentation.
- This creative decline coincided with Summer's marriage to songwriter Bruce Sudano and their subsequent conversion to the 'born again' school of Christian fundamentalism. Although it might be unfair to link religion to Donna's musical output, the inward-looking conservatism and sentimentality of most of her Eighties releases are elements that lie at the heart of the back-to-the-Bible movement.
- Summer's empathy for working woman of all kinds - given vivid expression on the title track of She Works Hard For The Money - has perhaps been her greatest attribute as a recording artist. Whatever themes and styles she pursues in her future recordings, her various greatest hits collection are worth anyone's hardearned pay. 

 Dave Hill